Climate change. Overflowing landfills. Disappearing natural resources. The news can be pretty scary these days, and if those headlines have inspired you to do your part to make a difference for the planet, you’re not alone. While much of the responsibility lies with big corporations and not with the individual, we can still make an effort to be kinder to the world around us and reduce our carbon footprint.
Caring for the earth and its many gifts is core to our mission at Gaia Herbs. Without healthy soil, optimal growing conditions, clean water, and healthy farmworkers, your favorite Gaia products simply couldn’t exist! One way we do the right thing for the planet is by practicing regenerative farming. Read more about our efforts here.
Earth-friendly habits and routines don’t have to be intense or difficult. You can easily incorporate them into your day-to-day life.
Buy less or shop secondhand.
Thrift stores are at max capacity. Landfills are packed. Your basement and closets are equally jammed. How did you accumulate so much stuff? According to Green America, Americans generate a staggering 16 million tons of textile waste a year. It’s so much fun to buy new clothes, but instead of heading to the nearest big box store to update your wardrobe, head to a consignment shop or thrift store instead and see what’s available, or consider doing a clothing swap with neighbors and friends to mix things up. Getting ready for a party? Borrow decorations from friends instead of buying new.
Shopping secondhand can be an adventure; there’s nothing like the thrill of the hunt. While it’s not always possible to shop secondhand for everything, you can find treasures you didn’t even know you were looking for via garage sales, Facebook Marketplace, and your local Buy Nothing group — and you can easily get rid of excess stuff via these platforms too, giving them new life with someone who will put them to use.
Hang your clothes to dry.
There’s nothing better than getting into a bed freshly made with sheets straight off the clothesline. If you have space to dry your clothes outside, utilize it! Not only are you saving energy by skipping the dryer cycle and infusing your laundry with the delicious scent of fresh air and sunshine, the sun can also brighten dull or discolored white clothing, towels, and bedding.
Meal plan to reduce food waste.
We’ve all done it: Hit up the grocery store and filled our carts with fresh veggies, only to get sidetracked by life and never eat that spinach. Food waste is a huge problem in America; the EPA estimates “U.S. food loss and waste embodies 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (million MTCO2e) GHG emissions (excluding landfill emissions) – equal to the annual CO2 emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants.” And that doesn’t even count the food rotting in landfills!
To help reduce your family’s food waste, start planning the week’s meals. Buy a magnetic weekly calendar for your refrigerator and decide what’s for dinner together. Even if you don’t stick to it exactly, it can help inform what you make and how you shop in the future.
Go meatless once a week.
No, you don’t have to go fully vegetarian or vegan — unless you want to. Simply skipping meat dishes once or twice a week is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Meat production is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. If you can’t live without burgers, try a plant-based alternative. Many of them are surprisingly delicious!
Plant pollinator-friendly flowers and plants.
Pollinators are integral to the growth of the food we eat. When you’re doing your spring planting or planning for fall, consider planting shrubs and flowers that give bees and butterflies a safe place to land and a fruitful food supply. (We’ve got all the tips you need here.)
Bring a trash bag and gloves along on your daily walks.
Pick up trash in your neighborhood while you’re walking the dog or getting your steps in. Get the whole family involved and do a trash pick-up on the weekend; it’s an easy way to teach your little ones how to care for the world around them.